Los Angeles Clippers
New Orleans Pelicans
MVP: Tim Frazier is only 3 days into his career as a Pelican, and he made the most of it tonight, scoring 17 points on 8 shots with 4 steals and 7 rebounds from the point guard spot. He made timely baskets on drives and from midrange that consistently helped to sustain the second half New Orleans lead.
That was … 4 in 5: With the Clippers loss, they have now lost 4 out of 5 games for the first time since November. The schedule doesn’t get any easier from this point forward either, as they finish their current 5-game road trip in Golden State, which starts yet another of their 4 remaining back-to-backs to finish out the month of March.
X factor: Showing shades of their recent loss to Denver, the Clippers had 39 three-point attempts, missing 29 of them total. The starting backcourt of Chris Paul and J.J. Redick were a laudable 7-12 from deep, but the rest of the team shot a disappointing 3-27 behind the arc.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
First time all season that DeAndre Jordan has been held with fewer than 10 rebounds in back-to-back games#LACvsNO
— Law Murray (@LawMurrayTheNU) March 21, 2016
If you think about the 10-day contracts in Memphis and mid-season callups in New Orleans, L.A. probably lost to equivalent of D-League team.
— Andrew Han (@andrewthehan) March 21, 2016
Chris Paul said fatigue was no excuse: "If I’m not mistaken, y’all have been harping about how good we’ve been on back to backs."
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) March 21, 2016
Check Your Messages
There’s only a month left of regular season NBA games, and the end can’t come soon enough for the Clippers. Like many teams, they’ve had to endure the grind of over 70 games, many on back-to-back nights, many after traveling through multiple time zones, and many on early afternoons after working their way back to Los Angeles from hostile arenas late at night, with barely enough time to unpack and almost no time to practice as a team.
However, unlike most teams, they’ve done all this without the benefit of their best player, meaning that others have had to step up in Griffin’s absence. Increased scoring expectations for aging veterans, injuries to backups, and and unreliable production from the bench have placed huge minutes on Chris Paul, the team’s leader. Furthermore, gunners like JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford have had to take more shots and run off more screens to make up the difference, and all of this shows in their sloppy late-game execution, and inability to make shots in the last week or so of games.
There are no excuses; the Clippers have to finish out the season as strong as they can, if only for the mental boost that comes from entering the playoffs on a win streak. Blake Griffin’s return looms, but it may ultimately make little difference if he’s out-of-rhythm and can’t rely on his teammates’ tired legs to help out. These are the breaks of having such a long season, but as they say, these are the times that separate the good from the great.
There are no excuses; the Clippers have to finish out the season as strong as they can, as they failed to do tonight, if only for the mental boost that comes from entering the playoffs on a win streak.
Molehills into Mountains
With under 20 seconds left in the contest and down three, Chris Paul had a wide open path to the basket for a layup. It would have put the Clippers down 1, and they would have had to foul the Pelicans and try and get the ball back for a full court play with no timeouts.
Rather than take the shot that was there, Paul passed the ball to a contested Jamal Crawford behind the three-point line. The ball ended up in Austin Rivers hands, who would miss an even further three-point shot than the one Crawford had. The Clippers would go on to lose, but the kick out to a contested shooter is the habit in the Clippers play this season that seems to be the most puzzling.
Even with Blake Griffin, this is criminally under-reliant on paint scoring, and it’s plays such as the one just mentioned that have happened over and over this season, where a Clipper player with a path straight to the basket often chooses to pass the ball right back out, often times leading to an even worse shot or a reset of the offense. If it ends up in the hands of a player like J.J. Redick or Chris Paul — the only two above-average long-range shooters on the Clippers this season — then it’s understandable and justifiable. Outside of those two, however, this team is comprised largely of players who are in down years shooting the three or never were above-average three-point shooters coming into the season.
Percentage wise, some might consider even a contested three to be a better shot than most other attempts from the field. But as a player gets closer to the basket, the percentage chance of making a shot increases as well, so why reluctance to just take the two points that are there for the taking? Especially when the shots away from the paint have just not been falling?
Latest posts by Brandon Tomyoy (see all)
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- March 23, 2017: Los Angeles Clippers 95, Dallas Mavericks 97 – March 24, 2017